Slow, deliberate mouthfuls, savouring every crumb, only giving your body exactly what it needs and not a dribble more. Great. A wonderful theory – in fact more than a theory.
Mindful eating really works, when done, erm, mindfully. If you pay attention to what your body is telling you, you eat better food and fewer calories, resulting in a fitter, healthier you.
It sounds like a piece of cake, doesn’t it?
My problem is that my body is a big fat fibber with porkie pies on the menu every day. Listening to it is easy peasy lemon squeezy. It’s the things it says that are beyond the pale.
I’m hungry Ha! I don’t always get caught out by this one. “Hard cheese,” I say. I know I scoffed something filling and nutritious a couple of hours ago, so this can’t be true. “Hard cheese would do,” replies my treachorous body as if butter wouldn’t melt.
Have what you fancy – it’ll be what you need. Right. Now can someone please tell me exactly what’s lacking in my diet when my body starts talking turkey and says: “Oh yes, Percy Pigs, a couple of slices of chorizo and half a tub of pickled herring. A few nuts, a square of chocolate and, oh yes, some toast. That’s what you need. Right now.” And before you suggest it, no, I’m not! I suspect my body is, in fact, a contrary toddler that, having glimpsed a weakness, wants to see how far she can push things.
Savour every scrap. Eat slowly, chew with consideration. Each bite 100 times. I don’t know about you, but trying to count and masticate at a reduced pace just makes me a drooly distracted dining companion. And, in any case, some things demand to be jammed in and scoffed with relish. Nibbled Dairy Milk or dainty burger (bacon double cheese), I don’t think so.
Understand where your food comes from. Provenance, it’s important, I get that. I’m even happy to pay extra for a plateful of cow that was once cuddled to sleep or lobster that was coaxed kindly into the cage. Happy carrots are clearly tastier carrots than grumpy, neglected ones. Sure. But that just makes it even more likely to be added to my body’s eat-me-now list. And there are times when authenticity is more important than provenance, something anyone who’s ever dined late at night from the burger van off Glasgow’s Woodlands Road will understand.
Know what you’re eating for. So, there’s the I’m happy snack, the I’m lonely cheese and cracker, the I’m homicidal packet of crisps, the make the kids shut up banana sandwich (works eaten or rammed in the ears), the I’ve had a gin this must be supper olive, and the it’s the weekend fish supper. I’m mindful of all of these and more. Knowing what they are doesn’t make them any less delicious and compelling.
Mindful eating. I understand, I admire, I even aspire. But as long as there is the crunch of a biscuit or the smell of bacon, I fear mindful won’t win over matter for too long.